The Real Numbers

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the federal deficit and federal revenues. The numbers tell a very different story than the one the media would have you believe.

The editorial reports:

The latest monthly budget report from the Congressional Budget Office shows the deficit jumping $102 billion in just the first two months of the new fiscal year.

…A true apples-to-apples comparison, the CBO says, shows that the deficit climbed by just $13 billion.

So, no, the deficit is not soaring.

The editorial explains:

In fact, the CBO report shows that overall tax revenues climbed by $14 billion in the first two months of the year, compared with the same months last year. Which means they continue to hit new highs.

The CBO report shows that combined income and payroll taxes were the same in the first two months of the new fiscal year as they were last year. That’s even though far less money was withheld from paychecks thanks to the Trump tax cuts.

It also found that corporate income taxes went up by $5 billion. That’s despite the “massive corporate tax giveaway” that Democrats want to repeal.

Why are these revenues flat or up? Simple: The tax cuts help spur accelerated economic growth, which create jobs and spark income gains. More workers and higher wages mean more tax revenues. On the corporate side, a bigger economy means more profits, which even when taxed at lower rates can produce more revenue. This is exactly what advocates of Trump’s pro-growth tax cuts said would happen.

Meanwhile, revenue from “other sources” climbed by $8 billion. (To be clear, at least some of that $8 billion came from the re-imposition of ObamaCare’s nefarious tax on insurance premiums, which Congress had suspended the year before.)

But while revenues climbed by $14 billion, spending in the first two months of the new fiscal year climbed by $27 billion.

The obvious solution to the deficit problem is to limit spending. If we can’t agree on that, we could lower taxes again to increase revenue further, but I suspect that would really cause some Congressional heads to explode.

This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the Clinton Foundation. The editorial deals with the drop in donations to the Foundation after Hillary Clinton lost her bid for the Presidency.

The editorial reports:

Controversy over the foundation erupted after Peter Schweizer’s 2015 book — “Clinton Cash” — suggested that the foundation served as a way for donors to curry favor with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And, indeed, the multitude of connections that slowly turned out became hard to dismiss as coincidental. There was the fact that 85 of the 154 private interests who’d met with Clinton during her tenure at state were Clinton Foundation donors.

Emails turned up showing how the foundation intervened to arrange a meeting between Clinton and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, a country that had been a major foundation donor. A Chicago commodities trader who donated $100,000 to the foundation got a top job on a State Department arms control panel, despite having no experience in the area. On and on it went.

The editorial concludes:

But the most glaring indictment of the Clinton Foundation came from what happened last year, after Hillary Clinton lost the election — and effectively ended her political career.

First, the Clinton’s almost immediately shuttered the Clinton Global Initiative and laid off 22 employees.

Now, fresh financial documents show that contributions and grants to the Clinton Foundation plunged since Hillary lost her election bid. They dropped from $216 million in 2016 to just $26.5 million in 2017 — a stunning 88% fall. Throughout Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the foundation pulled in an average of $254 million a year. (See chart below for a timeline.)

If the Clinton Foundation was as good as defenders claimed, why did all its big-time donors suddenly lose interest? The only reasonable explanation is that donors weren’t interested in what the foundation supposedly did for humanity. They were interested in the political favors they knew their money would buy.

In April 2015, The New York Post reported:

The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.

The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.

On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fundraising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons is on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the foundation.

In all, the group reported $84.6 million in “functional expenses” on its 2013 tax return and had more than $64 million left over — money the organization has said represents pledges rather than actual cash on hand.

Some of the tens of millions in administrative costs finance more than 2,000 employees, including aid workers and health professionals around the world.

But that’s still far below the 75 percent rate of spending that nonprofit experts say a good charity should spend on its mission.

At one time there was an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. I have no idea whether or not it is ongoing. However, just looking at the amount of money spent on overhead and the rapid drop in donations when Hillary was not elected President, I think there are some obvious conclusions that anyone paying attention can draw about the Foundation.

Putting Politics Before The Welfare Of Americans

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the coming Congressional session. The title of the editorial is, “Market Turmoil Shows Why Trump’s Pro-Growth Policies Must Continue.”

The editorial explains:

Kudlow (President Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow) tried to calm the waters. “Corrections come and go,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff how a recession is in the future. Nonsense. Recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it. Keep the faith. It’s a very strong economy.”

Let’s be clear. Economic forecasts have been overly pessimistic for most of the Trump administration, with actual results consistently coming in “unexpectedly” higher than forecast. And Kudlow is right. There’s no sign of a recession on the horizon.

The editorial points out the indications of a strong economy and the steps needed to keep it strong:

Unemployment is at 50-year lows. Wages are growing at the fastest rate since the financial crisis. There are a million more job listings than officially unemployed people. Productivity grew 2.2% in the third quarter, after jumping 3% in the second quarter — the fastest growth rate in four years. Small business optimism and the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index remains at record highs.

After eight long years of sluggish growth under President Obama, the economy has been booming.

Still, the Fed has been raising interest rates, and as we’ve pointed out repeatedly in this space, the risk is always that they will go too far, too fast, and crash the economy. The trade war with China is taking its toll. And the economic expansion is old. The last recession ended 113 months ago, making this the second longest in the post-World War II era.

Which is all the more reason for the federal government to continue wringing every bit of growth-inhibiting policies out of the system. For his part, Trump needs to get a trade deal in place with China when he meets with President Xi Jinping at a G-20 summit later this month. And he needs to continue to deregulate where he can.

Unfortunately the Democrats in Congress have little interest in continuing the policies that have resulted in the current economic growth. They will make every effort to roll back the tax cuts and increase the size and spending of the federal government. Hopefully their efforts will not be successful.

Another Bad Idea From A Socialist

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest great idea–he wants to put all sorts of restrictions on Walmart until they start paying all of their employees $15 an hour.

The editorial states:

With typical Sanders subtlety, his new legislative proposal is called the “Stop WALMART act.”

Under it, big employers like Walmart would be banned from buying back shares in their own company unless they paid all their workers at least $15 an hour. They’d also have to cap CEO pay at 150 times the median employee pay, and provide seven days of paid sick leave. (Why Sanders doesn’t also include free lunches and bus tokens in his list of demands isn’t clear.)

Sanders says he’s building on the success of his Stop BEZOS act, which would have dictated that large companies “pay back” the cost of any government benefits received by any of their workers.

The editorial reminds us:

This is a company that employs 1.5 million people across the country. Some may not make what Sanders deems appropriate. But it’s good enough for many unskilled workers, who if they had a better offer would have taken it.

What’s more, Walmart’s relentless pursuit of lower prices not only helps middle class families stretch their hard-earned dollars further, but has helped hold down inflation economywide, according to economists who’ve studied the “Walmart effect.” That benefits everyone.

…If Sanders really wants to help Walmart workers, two proven things work. Cut taxes and deregulate the economy.

In the wake of the Trump tax cuts — which Sanders vehemently opposed — Walmart boosted its starting wage to $11 an hour, up from $9. It also handed out bonuses that started at $250 and climbed to $1,000 depending on years of service.

Meanwhile, the economic boom under Trump’s economic policies has cut the unemployment rate to 50-year lows. It’s also drawn millions back into the workforce, and sparked the fastest wage growth in a decade.

No mandates. No threats or browbeating. No central planning needed.

Walmart is probably not the ideal career for everyone. However, I personally know someone who was able to support himself at college by working there part time. They hired a young kid out of high school and helped him get an education. He didn’t make it a career, but it helped move him toward the career he wanted.

Since when does the American government have the right to target a specific company and tell them what they must pay their employees?

Some Relevant Thoughts On Voter Fraud

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial titled, “Why Do Democrats Pretend Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist?”

The editorial begins by providing examples showing that voter fraud does exist:

In August, the Justice Department announced the prosecution of 19 foreign nationals for illegally voting in North Carolina. Some of them voted in multiple elections.

Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton decided to crack down on voter fraud before the midterm elections. So far, he’s prosecuted 33 people for 97 counts of voter fraud this year alone. Among the discoveries was a voter fraud ring that had received financial support from the former head of the Texas Democratic Party.

Pennsylvania let thousands of noncitizens register to vote, many of whom have since voted, according to reporter John Fund, who has been following this issue for years.

The Heritage Foundation has a database that now includes 1,165 cases of election fraud across 47 states. More than 1,000 of them resulted in criminal convictions.

One case of voter fraud is too many. Any fraudulent vote cancels out the vote of a legal voter. This is an issue all of us should be concerned about. One of the foundations of a healthy republic is honest elections. Without honest elections, we could easily become a banana republic.

The editorial concludes:

The fact is that committing voter fraud isn’t all that difficult, but minimizing it is easy. Cleaning up registration rolls, enacting voter ID requirements, using paper ballots, and implementing better controls on early and absentee voting would make non-citizen voting and other forms of fraud virtually impossible.

Critics of such efforts say that they will only serve to suppress the vote of minorities and the poor — that is, voters who tend to vote Democratic. They want to make it easier and easier to register and vote.

But there’s no evidence that voter ID laws suppress turnout. In fact, of 11 states that adopted strict voter ID laws, nine either saw increased turnout in 2016, or had turnout rates higher than the national average, the Heritage Foundation notes.

Nor does cleaning up registration rolls, aggressively pursuing voter fraud cases, using paper ballots, or other measures to ensure the integrity of the ballot suppress legitimate voters.

Those who say voter fraud is no big deal should realize something. Every single vote cast fraudulently cancels out one legitimate vote. They need to ask themselves how they’d feel if it was their vote being canceled.

It is long past time to fix this.

Sometimes The Facts Just Don’t Agree With The Spin

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday about some assertions made by former President Obama in a recent speech.

The editorial notes:

In a speech at a rally in Nevada, Obama claimed that the current economic boom has nothing to do with Trump’s economic policies.

“By the time I left office,” he said, “wages were rising, uninsurance rate was falling, poverty was falling. And that’s what I handed off to the next guy. So when you hear all this talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it.”

Well, who did start it?

The editorial explains:

GDP growth was decelerating throughout 2016. Household income was flat. The unemployment rate was flat. The stock market was flat.

And, “by 2016, wage growth began to taper off quickly,” notes the American Action Forum’s Ben Gitis.

Even The New York Times, which has been gamely trying to grant Obama credit for the current boom, now admits that 2016 was an “invisible recession.”

“There was a sharp slowdown in business investment, caused by an interrelated weakening in emerging markets, a drop in the price of oil and other commodities, and a run-up in the value of the dollar,” it explained.

Slow Growth Expected

By the end of 2016, pundits and economists were widely predicting a new era of slow economic growth. Why? Because for eight years under President Obama’s leadership, the economy struggled to even top 2% annual growth. It never reached 3%. And every single year GDP growth missed the forecasts by Obama’s own economists.

So for Obama to claim that he handed Trump a thriving economy is 100% pure poppycock.

What’s more, Obama and other liberal Democrats insisted in 2016 that if Trump were elected, he’d send the economy into a tailspin.

There is a definite difference between words and results. Former President Obama can claim all the economic success he wants, but the numbers simply do not back him up.

Things To Notice

On October 15, The Wall Street Journal noted:

The U.S. government ran its largest budget deficit in six years during the fiscal year that ended last month, an unusual development in a fast-growing economy and a sign that—so far at least—tax cuts have restrained government revenue gains.

The deficit totaled $779 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 17% from $666 billion in fiscal 2017, the Treasury Department said Monday. The deficit is headed toward $1 trillion in the current fiscal year, the White House and Congressional Budget Office said.

Deficits usually shrink during economic booms because strong growth leads to increased tax revenue as household income, corporate profits and capital gains all rise. Meantime, spending on safety-net programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps tends to be restrained.

In the last fiscal year, a different set of forces was at play as economic growth sped up. Interest payments on the federal debt and military spending rose rapidly, while tax revenue failed to keep pace as the Republican tax cuts for both individuals and corporations kicked in.

What you just read is totally misleading. The statement that ‘ tax revenue failed to keep pace as the Republican tax cuts for both individuals and corporations kicked in” is absolutely false. The two major parts of the problem are Congress’ lack of ability or willingness to cut spending and the fact that when the federal reserve raises interest rates, it increases the interest the government pays on the current debt, thus increasing the deficit. As far as the tax cuts are concerned, the facts are quite different from what The Wall Street Journal reported.

On October 16, Investor’s Business Daily reported:

Critics of the Trump tax cuts said they would blow a hole in the deficit. Yet individual income taxes climbed 6% in the just-ended fiscal year 2018, as the economy grew faster and created more jobs than expected.

The Treasury Department reported this week that individual income tax collections for FY 2018 totaled $1.7 trillion. That’s up $14 billion from fiscal 2017, and an all-time high. And that’s despite the fact that individual income tax rates got a significant cut this year as part of President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan.

True, the first three months of the fiscal year were before the tax cuts kicked in. But if you limit the accounting to this calendar year, individual income tax revenues are up by 5% through September.

Other major sources of revenue climbed as well, as the overall economy revived. FICA tax collections rose by more than 3%. Excise taxes jumped 13%.

The only category that was down? Corporate income taxes, which dropped by 31%.

Overall, federal revenues came in slightly higher in FY 2018 — up 0.5%.

Spending, on the other hand, was $127 billion higher in fiscal 2018. As a result, deficits for 2018 climbed $113 billion.

The underline is mine.

It’s the spending, stupid! We need a Congress that will curb spending and a Federal Reserve that will move slowly.

Chess And Checkers

In the past, the Democrats and their media allies have played chess while the Republicans have played checkers. That seems to be changing. In evaluating Donald Trump, you have to consider who he was before he ran for President. Donald Trump inherited two major things from his father–a good supply of seed money and a strong work ethic. With those two things, he entered the real estate market in New York City, definitely a place where street smarts, common sense, and the ability to play poker are needed. He succeeded in that market by marketing his brand and building tall buildings. In creating that success, he often dealt with people who played by rules other than those of polite society. He honed the ability to know when he could close a deal with a handshake and when he needed an ironclad contract. He also mastered the art of leverage. That brings me to the present.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday that asks the questions, “Did Hillary Clinton Direct Deep State’s Trump Investigation?”

That is an interesting question. At present the evidence is circumstantial, but the article lists much of that evidence:

Last week, while Washington Democrats and their far-left allies shrieked in rage at the prospect of Kavanaugh taking a seat on the high court, former FBI General Counsel James Baker — who reported directly to former FBI Director James Comey — told congressional investigators that an attorney from the Perkin Coies law firm gave him materials about Russian election meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign.

This is a stunning revelation, since it directly contradicts Justice Department and FBI official sworn testimony.

…Baker told Congress last week that Perkin Coies lawyer Michael Sussmann directly handed documents to him about Russia’s attempts at meddling in the 2016 election. He was a cutout, a go-between, for Hillary Clinton. And the FBI knew it.

…”Numerous officials at the DOJ and the FBI have told us under oath…nobody at FBI or DOJ knew anything about the Democratic Party being behind the Clinton dirt,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Sunday. “Now you have one of the top lawyers for the Democrats and the Clinton campaign who was feeding information directly to the top lawyer at the FBI.”

The article concludes:

Nunes says that the recent revelations show why President Trump should declassify some of the Russia-related documents. We think that should only be the starting point for a thorough investigation of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s apparent crimes.

An article at The American Thinker posted today offers one explanation of why the declassification of the Russia-related documents has been delayed:

There’s a reason why President Trump has not unilaterally declassified the documents exposing perfidy against him: leverage.  As the whole Russia hoax is beginning to come into some sort of global perspective – quite literally, as we’ll see – the extent of the advantage he now maintains by holding back declassification as a threat outweighs the benefits of transparency.  Recent posts by observers who write from widely varying perspectives give us the ability to discern the current state of play.

The article at The American Thinker explains the principle of leverage involved in not declassifying those documents:

There are many other players, in addition to Rosenstein, who are at serious risk.  But from the perspective of leverage, Rosenstein is the key because he created the special counsel part of the hoax and because – as a result of A.G. Sessions’s recusal – he remains in charge of the special counsel operation.  Rosenstein can exercise as much or as little control over Mueller as he wants.  Trump’s threat of declassification of the “origination material” gives Trump complete leverage over Rosenstein and therefore over Mueller.

…Leverage, anyone?  Declassification would expose all these foreign players, but the heaviest hit by far would be against the U.K. and its Australian poodle.  And so we learn that “key allies” “begged” Trump not to declassify that “origination material.”

We currently have a President who plays chess. We need to get used to that.

Misleading Voters In The Hope Of Winning Elections

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial on Friday about misleading claims about ObamaCare by Democrats running for office.

The editorial reports:

Democrats want health care to be a major deciding issue in the midterm elections and are spending a fortune running campaign ads. Too bad most of the ads make the false claim that Republicans would take away protections for pre-existing conditions.

From January to July, Democrats spent some $17 million for 56,000 health care ads on behalf of Senate candidates, according to USA Today.

The Wesleyan Media Project reported that 44% of all the ads for congressional Democrats focused on health care. In Senate races, half of the ads were on health care, and another 16% on prescription drug costs.

One of the claims in the ads is that Republicans want to deny insurance to those with pre-existing conditions. This is a scare tactic.

The editorial explains the Republican plan for dealing with those who have pre-existing conditions (The article notes that the individual market comprises just 7% of the total insurance market. And of those, only a much smaller fraction had ever been denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions before ObamaCare.):

One GOP idea was to create subsidized high-risk pools for those whose health needs would truly make them ineligible for coverage. Another was to provide protections for those who maintain continuous coverage. That would prevent people from gaming the system by waiting until they’re sick to buy insurance. (In contrast to ObamaCare, which encourages people to game the system.) Still another was to expand access to group coverage by removing needless government restrictions on “association health plans.”

Whatever anyone thinks of the Republican alternatives, it’s clear that ObamaCare’s approach is failing. Its rules and mandates led to double-digit price increases year after year, which have priced millions of families out of the insurance market altogether. (So much for guaranteed coverage.) Those who can afford ObamaCare coverage have no choice but to enroll in HMO-style plans with extremely high deductibles. (So much for making insurance “affordable.”)

The GOP proposals aren’t perfect, a point we made in this space many times. But ObamaCare as it exists today is a disaster. It promises affordable coverage, but makes it impossible for millions to get it. And it requires massive taxpayer subsidies to bring individual insurance within reach of anyone.

Unfortunately voters who are not well informed may believe the lies being told. Hopefully enough people have been negatively impacted by ObamaCare to see through this ploy.

Is Voter Fraud Real?

In August of 2017, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial that is still significant today. The editorial dealt with voter fraud.

The editorial stated:

Elections: American democracy has a problem — a voting problem. According to a new study of U.S. Census data, America has more registered voters than actual live voters. It’s a troubling fact that puts our nation’s future in peril.

The data come from Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project. The group looked at data from 2011 to 2015 produced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, along with data from the federal Election Assistance Commission.

As reported by the National Review’s Deroy Murdock, who did some numbers-crunching of his own, “some 3.5 million more people are registered to vote in the U.S. than are alive among America’s adult citizens. Such staggering inaccuracy is an engraved invitation to voter fraud.”

Murdock counted Judicial Watch’s state-by-state tally and found that 462 U.S. counties had a registration rate exceeding 100% of all eligible voters. That’s 3.552 million people, who Murdock calls “ghost voters.” And how many people is that? There are 21 states that don’t have that many people.

The article concluded:

And, in at least two nationally important elections in recent memory, the outcome was decided by a paper-thin margin: In 2000, President Bush beat environmental activist and former Vice President Al Gore by just 538 votes.

Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat, won his seat by beating incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008. Coleman was initially declared the winner the day after the election, with a 726-vote lead over Franken. But after a controversial series of recounts and ballot disqualifications, Franken emerged weeks later with a 225-seat victory.

Franken’s win was enormous, since it gave Democrats filibuster-proof control of the Senate. So, yes, small vote totals matter.

We’re not saying here that Franken cheated, nor, for that matter, that Bush did. But small numbers can have an enormous impact on our nation’s governance. The 3.5 million possible fraudulent ballots that exist are a problem that deserves serious immediate attention. Nothing really hinges on it, of course, except the integrity and honesty of our democratic elections.

I don’t claim to be a mathematical genius, but logically it doesn’t seem as if you should have more registered voters than live people. I understand that there can be a delay if a person dies, but hopefully that person can be taken off of the voter rolls quickly. There are also cases of intentional fraud. A friend of mine checked the voter rolls for the names of anyone registered to vote at her address. She found three names that she did not even recognize.

Recently there has been a move in some areas to compare voting rolls with the names of those refusing jury duty by stating that they are not American citizens. A number of people have been charged with crimes for voting when they were not eligible to vote.

We need honest elections. That is one reason that voter identity is a good idea. We also need checks and balances on our data–reporting and storing data. Recently a friend checked election data and found that it has been altered after certification. That should not happen.

North Carolina has a voter id measure on the ballot in November. The voters had already passed a voter id measure, but the courts struck it down. Let’s hope the will of the people will prevail this time.

The Numbers Tell The Story

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the growing federal deficit. The numbers in the editorial tell the story of what is actually happening:

Each month the Treasury Department releases its tally of federal spending and revenues. The most recent data are through the month of August. Since the federal government starts its fiscal year in October, the latest report includes all but one month of the 2018 fiscal year.

What do the data show?

Through August, the federal deficit topped $898 billion. Over the same period last year the deficit was $674 billion.

So, the deficit is running $224 billion higher this fiscal year compared with last.

But the Treasury data also show that federal revenues through August totaled $2.985 trillion. That’s an increase of $19 billion over the previous year.

In other words, despite Trump’s massive tax cuts, federal revenues are running higher this year than last.

The problem is that federal spending has climbed even faster. Through August, outlays totaled $3.88 trillion. That’s $243 billion more than the prior fiscal year.

…The Treasury data show that while corporate income tax receipts are down, individual income tax revenue is up by $100 billion — a 7% gain — over last year. Payroll taxes are up by $5 billion. Revenues from excise taxes and customs duties are also up.

So, while corporations are paying fewer taxes, they’re hiring more workers and paying them more, which is generating additional income and payroll taxes. This is exactly what advocates of the tax cuts predicted would happen.

As Kudlow explained in his remarks, increased growth has “just about paid for two thirds of the total tax cuts.”

The article goes on to illustrate that government spending is totally out of control. Until the spending drops, the deficit will not decrease. Those of us who voted for Republicans expected them to stop the runaway spending. If they continue to spend like drunken sailors, they will lose their majority.

One Weapon In Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about an agreement reached between Aetna Insurance and Abbot Laboratories.

The article reports:

Aetna (AET) agreed Tuesday to cover a chronic pain device from Abbott Laboratories (ABT) that acts as an alternative to potentially addictive opioids.

The decision extends coverage of Abbott’s dorsal root ganglion neurostimulation pain therapy to an estimated 22 million Americans living with chronic pain. By stimulating the dorsal root ganglion, a structure along the spinal column, Abbott’s device can mask pain.

“While Medicare already covers our DRG system, it’s encouraging to see payers like Aetna review the clinical data and outcomes, then choose to provide access to DRG stimulation for their members,” Keith Boettiger, vice president of Abbott’s neuromodulation business, said in a written statement.

…Neuropathic pain conditions are some of the most prevalent and under-treated forms of chronic pain in America, Abbott says.

These patients often try various medication, opioids or surgery to no end. Amid the opioid epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration is pushing for medical devices to help combat the crisis. An estimated 116 people died every day in the U.S. in 2016 due to opioid-related overdoses.

Many of the people in America who are addicted to opioids began that addiction after being prescribed the drugs for pain. When the prescription ran out and they could not refill it, they turned to street drugs, which were cheaper and available. Unfortunately, there are no controls on street drugs, and they are sometimes laced with fentanyl. The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2016, lab-made fentanyl helped kill over half of the people who died of opioid overdoses.

Finding a way to combat chronic pain without opioids is one step in dealing with the opioid epidemic in America. Kudos to Aetna in taking a step in that direction by covering the DRG system.

The Economic System That Works

We have all heard the expression, “The proof is in the pudding.” In other words, you can judge the value of something by how well it works. Sounds like common sense, but somehow common sense occasionally takes a vacation from our political dialog. Recently, the left wing of the Democrat party has come out in support of socialism. Tom Steyer and George Soros have invested millions of dollars into Democrat candidates who support socialism while many Democrats are trying to play down the fact that the party is flirting with socialist ideas. Capitalism has dropped in approval among the public while socialism is popular in many circles. Yet when you compare the results of the two economic systems, capitalism helps many more people than socialism.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial titled, “The Coming Global Middle-Class Majority: Thank Capitalism, Not Socialism, For The Boom.”

Here are some highlights from the editorial:

…capitalism in the last few decades has had the most revolutionary impact on improving human lives in history.

And yes, that’s a fact, one reaffirmed in a new study by the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution think tank.

The study validates what some have known now for years: Capitalism makes everyone wealthier, even the poor. But it also magically turns hundreds of millions of poor people into the middle class. It’s the greatest economic transformation ever.

The Brookings study, by Homi Kharas, asserts that in just two years — 2020 — the majority of the world’s estimated 7.5 billion people will be “middle class.” Kharas defines middle class as anyone who can pay for food, shelter and clothing, with enough left to supply some luxuries, including TV, a motorbike or car, higher education, home improvements and better food.

The editorial notes the difference between perception and reality:

Put another way, thanks to the free-market revolution that is still reshaping the world, per person global output increased more in the 15 years after the fall of communism than it had in the previous 10,000 years of human civilization.

To say this is an underrecognized, underreported phenomenon is an understatement. Today, in our colleges and universities, our best students learn that the world is bifurcated sharply into haves and have-nots, a result of capitalism run amok. And that capitalism leaves a small handful of people richer but the rest of us poorer.

Simply not true. Indeed, most of the world is getting richer, largely due to free trade, more open investment, and the recognition by many countries that not all regulations are good. And among those who have benefited the most are those who are the poorest.

Socialism didn’t achieve these things. Capitalism, now a dirty word, did. Yet, as we’ve mentioned before, a recent Gallup Poll shows that among those aged 18 to 29, 51% have a positive view of socialism while just 45% have a positive view of capitalism. They’re sadly mistaken.

As left-leaning economist Robert Heilbroner so eloquently wrote in the pages of the New Yorker all the way back in 1989, “Less than 75 years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: capitalism has won … Capitalism organizes the material affairs of humankind more satisfactorily than socialism.”

The editorial concludes:

Yes, growth cycles go up, and they go down. But there is no question that the free market policies put in place in the early 1980s under U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have had an enormous effect around the world. The ideas they fostered and that other governments picked up made the world a much wealthier place. They helped pull literally hundreds of millions out of poverty and misery.

Remember that the next time you hear Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren or congresswoman wannabe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez extol the wonders of socialism. Capitalism creates wealth. Socialism creates poverty. And the explosion in the global middle class proves it.

I guess those who support candidates espousing socialism need to study recent economics and history.

Those Nasty Unintended Consequences

On Monday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial detailing the impact of ObamaCare on doctors.

The editorial reports:

A year before ObamaCare became law, an IBD/TIPP Poll warned that it would lead to doctor shortages because many would quit or retire early. New evidence shows that our warnings were dead on.

A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges projects doctor shortages of up to 121,300 within the next 12 years. That’s a 16% increase from their forecast just last year.

Not only are medical schools having trouble attracting doctors (New York University plans to offer free tuition to its med students), but current physicians are cutting back on patient visits, retiring early or switching careers.

An article in a recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings says that nearly one in five doctors plan to switch to part-time clinical hours, 27% plan to leave their current practice, and 9% plan to get an administrative job or switch careers entirely.

The editorial cites one possible reason for the declining number of doctors:

One of the big drivers of doctor exits, by the way, is the Obama administration’s “electronic health records” mandate, which was supposed to vastly improve the quality and efficiency of care.

It’s had the opposite effect. A Mayo Clinic survey found that the EHR mandate is reducing efficiency, increasing costs and paperwork hassles, and pushing more doctors to quit or retire early.

A Harris Poll found that 59% of doctors say the current EHR system foisted on them by the Obama administration needs “a complete overhaul,” and 40% say it imposes more challenges than benefits.

ObamaCare continued what had been a long and sorry trend in health care. Government-imposed rules designed to fix some problem in the system instead generated mountains of new administrative work.

The result has been that while the number of physicians in the country has climbed modestly over the past three decades, the number of health care administrators exploded.

This is an illustration of the consequences of government interference in the free market. The free market isn’t perfect, but it is the best way to keep prices down, innovation up, and industries (and professions) moving forward.

When Common Sense Meets Health Insurance

On August 14th, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact that the removing of regulations by the Trump administration has had.

The article reports:

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted earlier this year in its “Ten Thousand Commandments” annual report, federal regulations cost a lot more than their stated dollar amount. As of last year, regulation and federal intervention in the economy cost Americans an estimated $1.9 trillion. And that’s one of the lowball estimates out there.

How much is that? It’s the equivalent of a $15,000-per-household tax levied each year in perpetuity. That’s more than the average family spends on food, clothing or transportation. Only housing takes more of the family budget.

If regulation were a nation, and let’s be thankful it’s not, it would be the eighth-largest economy in the world. Regulation even exceeds the IRS’ total take in corporate and individual income tax. That’s how big it is.

Last year, Trump began cutting rules in earnest as soon as he entered office. He slashed the total number of pages in the Federal Register, the government’s regulatory bible, from 95,894 in 2016 to 61,308 pages in 2017. That’s a decline of 36% and the lowest since 1993. This year it will go even lower.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about how removing some regulations has impacted ObamaCare.

The editorial reports:

The leftist Center for American Progress claimed that premiums for ObamaCare’s “benchmark plan” would rocket up 25% next year, due almost entirely to the individual mandate repeal and Trump’s decision to expand access to far less expensive “short term” insurance plans that don’t have to comply with ObamaCare regulations and mandates.

Rates in Pennsylvania, it said, would jump 27%. They were going to climb 28% in Wisconsin. And 29% in Arizona and Nebraska.

All those dire predictions scored widespread news coverage.

But then insurance companies started announcing modest rate requests for 2019, and suddenly ObamaCare was no longer a story.

ObamaCare premiums will rise a mere 0.7% in Pennsylvania, according to the state’s insurance commissioner. They will climb by just 1% in Nebraska. In Wisconsin, they’re expected to drop by 3.5%, and drop by more than 5% in Arizona.

The overall increase this year will be just over 5%, on average, according to ACASignups.net, which is aggressively supportive of ObamaCare.

If that holds true, it will be the lowest increase in premiums since ObamaCare started.

According to data from the Health and Human Services department, premiums in the individual market jumped 25% in 2014, ObamaCare’s first year. They climbed 14% in 2015 and 8% in 2016. In 2017, premiums shot up by 23%. And then another 37% in 2018.

Keep in mind that except for the 2018 rate increase, all those prior hikes were announced when Barack Obama was in the White House and everyone expected Hillary Clinton to become the next president.

Government regulations affect all of us. Most of them simply need to go away.

But It Sounds So Good

On Wednesday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the cost of free stuff. Yes, you read that right.

The editorial reports:

In a devastating piece that appeared on the left-of-center web site Vox (to its credit), Manhattan Institute fellow Brian Riedl went through the simple math of what free actually costs. It’s a lot.

It’s not just the free aspect, but the fact that the democratic socialists have made so many promises that must be paid for that will make it so tough to swallow for most voters.

Riedl looked at the 10-year costs of all the various promises made by Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other self-described democratic socialists. He was as generous as could be in his estimates, often accepting the democratic socialists’ cost estimate even when it was patently and absurdly too low. It’s quite a laundry-list of promises with enormous costs: “Free college” ($807 billion); Social Security expansion ($188 billion); single-payer health care ($32 trillion); guaranteed jobs at $15 per hour plus benefits ($6.8 trillion); infrastructure ($1 trillion); student loan debt forgiveness ($1.4 trillion).

Net cost: about $42.5 trillion over 10 years, give or take a few hundred billion. To paraphrase the late, great Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen: “A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

I wonder if the young people who support socialism understand how much it costs.

The article reminds us that our spending is already out of control:

As it is, current federal estimates expect about $44 trillion in tax revenues over that same period, with a deficit of roughly $12.4 trillion. Remember: All this democratic socialist spending comes on top of what we’re already spending.

Please consider this when you vote. If you want the government to take less of your money, the only hope you have (although it is a small hope) is to vote Republican.

Swamps And Alligators

As the saying goes–“When you are up to your neck in alligators, it is hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.” As we watch the deep state react to being backed into a corner, it is good to remember that expression.

Let’s try to put the ‘hair-on-fire’ reporting of the President’s statements at his press conference with Putin in perspective. First of all, we have seen in the short time that Donald Trump has been President that he tends to be polite in press conferences. We also have learned that he tends to be tough in private talks.

One of the hair-on-fire media statements is that Putin must have something on President Trump. He may, but I can guarantee he has a whole lot more on Hillary Clinton.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today that reminds us:

Last week we learned that a “foreign entity” may have been secretly receiving Hillary Clinton’s emails while she was Secretary of State, including many that contained classified information. And that the FBI apparently ignored this information during its “investigation.” The reaction by the press to this bombshell? Crickets.

At one point during Peter Strzok’s congressional testimony last week, Rep. Louie Gohmert made a stunning claim: FBI investigators were told that Clinton’s emails had been surreptitiously forwarded to a “foreign entity.” And the FBI investigators who were allegedly conducting a thorough, unbiased, professional probe into Clinton’s mishandling of classified materials ignored it.

Trump did business with Russia for years. It is quite possible some corners were cut. How does that stack up to information that could have been obtained from Hillary Clinton’s server–Clinton Foundation activities illegally related to State Department access, misuse of funds going into the Clinton Foundation, pay-for-play schemes, Uranium One information, etc. It seems to me that anything Putin may or may not have on President Trump pales in comparison to what Putin has on Hillary Clinton.

The following was posted at rightwinggranny on March 7, 2018:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This brings us back full circle to the beginning. The question was originally: Why did she have the private server? She said convenience, obviously that was ridiculous…

It was obvious she was hiding something.

And think about it, she set it up in 2009, before becoming Secretary of State. So, she anticipated having exchanges that she would not want anyone to see. So, we’ve been asking ourselves on this set for a year almost, what exactly didn’t she want people to see?

Well, now we know.

And as we speculated, the most plausible explanation was the rank corruption of the Clinton Foundation, and its corrupt — I don’t know if it’s illegal, but corrupt relationship with the State Department.

And her only defense as we saw earlier– the Democrats are saying, well, there was nothing she did… that was corrupted by donations. You can believe that if you want, but there’s a reason that people give donations in large amounts, and that’s to influence the outcome of decisions. So, this — we are getting unfolding to us, exactly what she anticipated having to hide, and it is really dirty business.

The above quote is from October 2016. As usual, the late Charles Krauthammer was right on target.

ZeroHedge quotes a claim Vladimir Putin made in the press conference in Helsinki:

Vladimir Putin made a bombshell claim during Monday’s joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, when the Russian President said some $400 million in illegally earned profits was funneled to the Clinton campaign by associates of American-born British financier Bill Browder – at one time the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia. The scheme involved members of the U.S. intelligence community, said Putin, who he said “accompanied and guided these transactions.”

Browder made billions in Russia during the 90’s. In December, a Moscow court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud, while he was also found guilty of tax evasion in a separate 2013 case. Putin accused Browder’s associates of illegally earning over than $1.5 billion without paying Russian taxes, before sending $400 million to Clinton.

Is it possible that the hair-on-fire reporting on President Trump’s statement is simply to distract us from the questions about the $400 million donation to the Clinton campaign?

 

 

 

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

On Friday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about a recent bill sponsored by Washington, D.C.’s city council.

The article reports:

On Tuesday, 7 of the 13 members of Washington’s city council sponsored a bill to jettison the wage hike for tipped workers that 56% of D.C. voters had approved by a ballot initiative less than a month before.

Under Initiative 77, the workers would see their minimum wage climb from the current $3.89 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026, erasing the difference between tipped and nontipped workers.

Keep in mind that D.C. is about as heavily Democratic as you can get. It went for Hillary Clinton by a 91%-4% margin.

But the D.C. council members came to understand what economists — and D.C. restaurant workers themselves — already know. Sharp increases in the minimum wage will cost lost hours, lost jobs and lost income.

The article concludes:

This wage mandate, just like the one the council is trying to repeal, will also end up hurting the very people it’s supposed to help.

That’s not speculation. It’s what happened in Seattle, which four years ago decided to gradually hike the city’s minimum to $15. Researchers from the University of Washington found that the average low-wage worker lost $125 a month as the mandate took effect and employers cut back on hours and jobs.

Other parts of the country are catching on as evidence rolls in of the job-killing side effect of these mandated wage hikes. The mayor of heavily Democratic Baltimore vetoed a minimum-wage bill last year. The city council in Flagstaff, Ariz., decided to scrap the planned hike to $12, and cap it at $10.50.

“Fight for $15” makes a good bumper sticker. But as Democrats are finding out first hand, it makes bad public policy.

Maybe the answer is not raising the pay for minimum-wage jobs, but in better educating our children so that when they enter the workforce at minimum jobs, they are able to learn skills and progress to better paying jobs. In many cases, companies have responded to increases in the minimum wage by replacing workers with machines. Minimum-wage jobs are valuable–they teach workers entering the workforce the basic principles of holding a job–showing up, working hard, being courteous to fellow employees and customers, and being dependable and on time. Drastically increasing the minimum wage will result in many minimum-wage jobs being eliminated.

Some Thoughts On Brett Kavanaugh

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about some of the reactions to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice. Some of the attacks on this man by the political left are so ridiculous they are funny.

The editorial cites one example of the attacks:

The Washington Post red-flagged the fact that Kavanaugh racked up nearly $200,000 in credit card debt to buy season tickets to the Washington Nationals baseball team and also for “home improvements.”

A big chunk of change, to be sure. But…what? It’s a bit hard to argue Kavanaugh wasn’t gainfully employed. The Post further makes a big deal that Kavanaugh’s most recent financial form shows less than $70,000 in assets. Sound poor? Does that disqualify him from service on the Supreme Court? Do we now have an asset test for all Court nominees?

What’s absurd about the “assets” is they don’t include his six-figure income and generous pension from being a federal judge. Nor does it include the value of his home. We don’t know what those are, but we’re pretty sure the net value of both is well north of $1 million.

It gets worse:

The Post also “reported,” if that’s the word, that Kavanaugh proclaimed himself Treasurer of the “Keg City Club — 100 Kegs or Bust” in his high school yearbook, and referred to the “Beach Week Ralph Club” and “Rehoboth Police Fan Club.”

So, teenage hijinks are now a solid disqualification for service on the federal bench?

Of course, this is all recycled pap from Kavanaugh’s approval process to be a federal judge. It’s mostly all known. Why repeat it? Anything to sully a man’s reputation. After all, recall how both Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas were smeared by the left during their confirmation battles. Together, they were two of the most disgusting and unfair spectacles in American political history.

I that is all the dirt they can find on this man, he totally deserves to be confirmed in the next two months!

What A Difference A President Makes

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about recent events in Iran. The editorial highlights the difference between the way the Obama administration handled protests and the Trump administration is handling protestors.

The editorial states:

In recent days, headlines such as “In Iran, revolution is starting in the bazaar,” “Clashes Continue in Iran for Third Day After Grand Bazaar Merchant Protest,” and “Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Shut Down As Economic Protests Spread,” have run in global media, with little apparent notice.

It’s a big deal. A very big deal.

The 39-year-old dictatorship of the Mullahs in Tehran may be on the verge of dissolving, as Trump imposes new, stiff sanctions on Iran’s economy and Iran’s currency, the rial, plunges sharply, prices soar and the economy collapses. Average Iranians are losing faith in the government and taking to the streets.

In dealing with Iran, it is important to remember the demographics of the country. A large segment of their population was killed during the Iran/Iraq War between 1980 and 1988. The current profile of the Iranian population is 24.1 percent under the age of 15, 70.1 percent between 15 and 64 years old, and 5 percent of the population 65+. That means that the twenty year olds who participated in the Iranian revolution now comprise 5 percent of the population.

According to unc.edu:

A scholarly article based on the records of the Veteran and Martyrs Affairs Foundation, a government agency, recently counted 183,623 Iranian deaths as a result of the war.

To put that into perspective, Iran had a population of 80.9 million people in 2017.

The majority of the population has grown up in a very restrictive culture and  does not necessarily supported the rule of the mullahs. The current economic struggles have only exacerbated the discontent of the majority of young Iranians.

The editorial states:

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, its central meeting place and business center, has been filled with tens of thousands of angry protesters nearly every day. Yet, the media are paying little attention. Neither are average citizens in the West. But it bears close watching.

Some chant anti-government slogans, including “The enemy is here. They (the regime) lie that it is the U.S.” Not lost on average Iranians is the fact that, as Najmeh Bozorgmehr writes in the Financial Times, “The bazaar played a crucial role in the 1979 Islamic revolution when traders joined forces with the clergy to overthrow Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.”

Is history repeating itself?

If so, this will remake the entire Mideast. Without the fundamentalists in power, Iran will almost certainly begin modernizing both its economy and its culture. Moreover, the nuclear weapons program that is at the heart of western discontent with Iran could be dismantled.

Last time, the U.S. sat and watched, not giving its ally, the Shah, any support. This time is different.

The U.S. Treasury under President Trump has already begun to revoke licenses, according to the Associated Press, that let U.S.-controlled foreign companies sell commercial jet parts and oilfield gear to Iran. It also bans sale of Iran’s famous carpets, pistachios and caviar in the U.S., major exports for the financially troubled nation.

This follows Trump’s decision in May to pull out of President Obama’s so-called Iran nuclear agreement. That deal didn’t halt work on a nuclear weapon; it merely postponed an Iranian nuke by 10 years.

Despite criticism from Britain, China, Russia, Germany, France and the European Union, Trump held fast. Angry rhetoric notwithstanding, foreign banks have fallen into line, fearing sanctions from the U.S. Two-thirds of all global trade is conducted in dollars. As sanctions bite and its oil industry struggles, Iran’s mullahs are short on cash.

By these moves, Trump has empowered the people taking to the streets in Tehran and elsewhere. The last time this happened, during Iran’s 2009 “Green Revolution,” by comparison, President Obama did nothing. Indeed, within years, Obama had signed a Neville-Chamberlain-style appeasement deal Iran’s leaders. Disgracefully, it basically gave them a sure path to a nuclear bomb.

This protest is important. It could eventually change the face of the Middle East.

Do They Really Think We Are That Stupid?

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about poverty in America.

The editorial states:

Amid all the immigration hoo-ha, maybe you missed the uncritical mainstream media reports of a United Nations study faulting President Trump for poverty in America. Turns out, it’s just more fake news.

An uncritical Reuters headline says it all: “America’s poor becoming more destitute under Trump: U.N. expert”. The Hill’s equally blase headline: “UN poverty official: Trump exacerbating inequality.”

The report — really a first-person narrative — released earlier this month, ripped President Trump for his “contempt” and “hatred of the poor.”

The report cited 18.5 million Americans who live in extreme policy, and massive U.S. defense spending at the expense of social programs.

Only one problem: As Chuck DeVore, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, points out, the data on which the study was based came from 2016.

Whoops.

The editorial continues:

Worse, the U.N. report uses misleading and “wildly inaccurate” Census data to bolster its claims of 18.5 million living in the U.S. under extreme poverty. The real level, as a separate study reveals, is “less than half that.”

In fact, unemployment at 3.8% is a 29-year low. Food stamp recipients in 2017 numbered 42.1 million, 2 million below Obama’s last year and the lowest since 2010.

Somehow I don’t think the definition of poverty in America is the same as the definition of poverty in some other areas of the world.

Small Business Growth Was Killed Under Dodd-Frank

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the impact of the Dodd-Frank Bill on the growth of small businesses in America.

The editorial reports:

A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the quasi-private think tank that serves as the referee for deciding U.S. upturns and downturns, shows the damage done by Dodd-Frank to small businesses was severe.

The study, “The Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Small Business,” by economists Michael D. Bordo and John V. Duca, goes a long way toward explaining why GDP growth under Obama was a mere 2%, a full third slower than the long-term average.

It’s based on a long-term and well-known dynamic. Small businesses grow faster than large ones, and account for over two-thirds of all U.S. jobs growth. Dodd-Frank’s damage was substantial and persistent.

The editorial explains how the regulations impacted small businesses:

Dodd-Frank made making loans to large companies far more attractive. They did so by new compliance rules that treated small and startup loans as inherently more risky than big-business loans.

In economic terms, Dodd-Frank increased the fixed cost of making a loan to smaller companies. So banks simply stopped lending to them. Overnight, businesses that once had lines of credit lost them. Many closed. Startups could get nothing.

This may sound like a wonky debate, but it isn’t. Dodd-Frank’s destructive lending restrictions destroyed millions of jobs and kept entrepreneurs from creating thousands and thousands of new, wonderful businesses.

And it also explains why, with a few deft strokes of his presidential pen, cutting both regulations and taxes sharply, President Trump has been able to offset Dodd-Frank’s growth-killing rules and restored 3% growth to the economy.

The cutting of regulations and the tax cuts created the economic atmosphere that has resulted in stunning economic growth in the past year. Now if the Federal Reserve will be very careful as it raises interest rates to reasonable levels, we should be able to come out of the slump we were in during the Obama administration smoothly.

Who Benefited From The Tax Cuts?

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the Trump Tax Cuts.

The article reports:

The numbers are now in. According to Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the rich are now paying a higher share of federal taxes after enactment of the Republican tax reform plan than before.

For 2017, before tax reform, the JCT estimates those earning $1 million or more a year paid 19.5% of all federal taxes, counting income taxes, payroll taxes, and excise taxes. But for 2018, after tax reform, the committee estimates that these same millionaire taxpayers will pay 20.4% of all federal taxes.

The biggest relative tax cuts resulting from the tax reform are for those making less than $50,000 a year. Their share of federal taxes fell from 4.4% to 3.8%, a tax cut of 14%.

Indeed, the committee estimates that the federal tax burden went up for all taxpayers now making over $200,000 a year, from 49.8% before tax reform, to 51.3% this year after tax reform. You have to go down to those making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year to find taxpayers paying a lower share of federal taxes, from 29% of the federal tax burden last year to 28.8% this year.

But how could that be? The fundamental reason is the economic growth effects of tax reform.

Higher economic growth means increased wages, jobs, employment and income. As the economy grows, the share of taxes paid, especially by those earning higher incomes who still pay much higher tax rates under our so-called “progressive” tax code, goes up as well.

This is the Democrats’ biggest nightmare. That is the reason they opposed the tax cuts and tried to use the media to turn the American people against the idea of tax cuts. I believe that in the 2018 mid-term elections, we will see the Democrats attempt to campaign on the idea that the tax cuts were ‘tax cuts for the rich,’ but if American voters choose to be informed, they will recognize the lie in that statement.

The article reports more bad news for Democrats campaigning in 2018:

Those same economic effects of the tax reform amount to economic liberation for the poor, working people and the middle class. After 8 years of economic stagnation under the neo-socialist policies of Obamanomics, the rising wages, jobs, employment and income under the long overdue Trump Republican economic recovery are making America great again for those with low and moderate incomes.

Top economists estimate wages for average middle-class families are increasing by $4,000 a year due to tax reform. That’s in addition to direct tax cuts of $2,000 a year for middle class families.

These economic effects are why we now see the lowest unemployment rates among blacks in American history. And despite the lies of the Democrat fake news media, the lowest unemployment rates among Hispanics in history as well.

And these economic effects are why Trump/Republican economics is now resonating among blacks and Hispanics culturally as well, from young black Millennials like Candace Owens to hip-hop stars like Kanye West.

As John F. Kennedy stated, “A rising tide lifts all the boats.'” We have watched the tax cuts (and the ending of some over regulation) do just that. John Kennedy would probably not be welcome in today’s Democrat party. That is a shame. In spite of his questionable activities regarding women, I believe he would have been a reasonable President had he lived.

When We Mean Well, But Just Don’t Get It Right

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about recycling. Most American communities have made provisions to recycle items rather than just dump them in the landfill, but evidently things are not always what they seem. China used to take about one third of America’s recycled material, but China has put strict rules on what it will accept–generally refusing most of our recycled material. This has resulted in many recycling companies dumping recyclables into landfills. So all of our sorting efforts are for naught.

The editorial reports:

But this isn’t even the worst of it. As John Tierney explained in an exhaustive analysis of recycling programs, also published by the New York Times, recycling is not only costly, but doesn’t do much to help the environment.

The claim that recycling is essential to avoid running out of landfill space is hogwash, since all the stuff Americans throw away for the next 1,000 years would fit into “one-tenth of 1% of land available for grazing,” Tierney says.

Other environmental benefits, he finds, are negligible, and come at an exceedingly high price. Tierney notes, for example, that washing plastics before recycling them, as is the recommended practice, could end up adding to greenhouse gas emissions. And the extra trucks and processing facilities produce CO2 as well.

Since it costs far more to recycle trash than to bury it, governments are wasting money that could be more effectively spent elsewhere.

We need to find a way to convert waste into energy without pollution. That might be a pipe dream, but it is a worthwhile goal.

 

They Were For It Before They Were Against It

On Thursday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the rising price of gasoline. It is becoming obvious that the Democrats plan to blame President Trump for the increased cost and use the issue in the 2018 mid-term elections. Well, not so fast.

The article reminds us that in the past the Democrats have supported increasing gasoline prices in the name of the phony science of global warming.

The article reminds us:

Sen. Minority Leader Charles Schumer and other Democrats plan to use this price spike to blast President Trump and, hopefully, improve their election chances in November.

“President Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the Iran deal has led to higher oil prices,” Schumer said. “These higher oil prices are translating directly to soaring gas prices, something we know disproportionately hurts middle and lower income people.”

But Schumer, as well as the reporters covering him, should know that the high gas prices are the result of three factors that are beyond Trump’s control.

One is the fact that OPEC has tightened its production quotas to counter the huge increase in U.S. oil production thanks to the fracking revolution. Trump has been trying to boost production still more.

So what have Democrats said about gasoline prices in the past? The article reports:

As recently as 2015, Democrats were pushing to nearly double the federal gasoline tax. At the time, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that it was the perfect time to do so because “if there’s ever going to be an opportunity to raise the gas tax, the time when gas prices are so low — oil prices are so low — is the time to do it.”

Democrats in California pushed through a 12-cent-per-gallon hike in the state’s gas tax last year that Republicans are vowing to roll back if they can.

…At the same time, Democrats have pledged to impose a tax on carbon emissions of around $50 per ton of CO2 — which would go up each year at a rate faster than inflation — to combat “climate change.”

Schumer himself promised to enact a carbon tax if Hillary Clinton won and Democrats regained control of the Senate in the 2016 elections.

Well, guess what? A carbon tax of that magnitude would sharply raise gasoline prices. A report out of the University of Michigan last fall concluded that a carbon tax of $40 per ton would hike gasoline prices by 36 cents a gallon.

Higher gasoline prices impact everyone who drives a car, a truck, or a motorcycle, whether they are rich or poor. To people who depend on their car to get them to work every day, the increased price of gasoline can mean the difference between taking a family vacation or staying home. It can mean the difference between taking the family out to dinner occasionally or eating at home. Financially and mentally, the price of gasoline matters. It is unfortunate that rather than work with the President to help bring the price of gasoline down and bring financial relief to Americans, the Democrats are choosing to make gasoline prices a political issue.